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The Blue & Gray Press | February 22, 2018

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Office Pairing Hopes to Attract Students

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

The admissions office will be paired with the financial aid office this year in an effort to draw in more out-of-state and international applicants.

Interim Provost Ian Newbould noticed that, as in many higher education institutions, neither department was unified, and brought in Noel Levitz, a national consulting firm, to look at the situation. The firm concluded that restructuring is needed and that UMW needs to take a more active approach in recruiting students.

“Everyone was on the same page about the need to make a change,” said Newbould.

Newbould said that this restructuring and focus on bringing in more out-of-state and international students is a way to increase, not only tuition revenue, but diversity as well.

“The number of out-of-state students over the last six-to-eight years has fallen dramatically, which means a loss in revenue, so that needs to be reversed,” said Newbould.

By pairing the admissions and financial aid departments, UMW hopes to use financial aid as a form of recruitment. Currently, financial aid offers are only given to students who have already decided to attend UMW. However, Newbould feels that students may decide against attending UMW as a result.

“There’s a lot of competition for students,” Newbould said.

This cultural shift has led to more students looking for value in their educational investments rather than prestige.

In addition to using financial aid to recruit students, the communication role that admissions plays will be increased, including by reaching out to potential students through written communication, e-mail and phone calls.

In order to lead this effort to combine the two departments, the University is on a national search to fill the currently untitled position for this merge.

“It could be that this position could be even more senior and that person would report directly to the president. It’s a much more senior position with much more senior responsibilities,” said Newbould. “We’re looking for someone with experience and success in running a modern, up-to-date recruitment office.”

Currently, Carol Descak is acting provost for admissions and financial aid while the University continues their search.

Newbould said that the results of the restructuring will be apparent when looking at the incoming class of 2017.

“We want to increase the number of applications. We want to get the selectivity back up. We want to get more out of state students and more international students,” said Newbould.

The Bullet attempted to reach Descak, but she was unavailable for comment.